The ‘Power’ to change the world

That alarm which wakes you up in the morning, annoying yet indispensable for your schedule … That microwave which warms your food, so that you can grab a quick bite before rushing to work or school … That automobile that safely transports you to work/school, unless you choose to walk … Do you realize how dependent you are on technology today? This was not the case always!

I remember my first overseas student exchange program to Spain, in 2009, and I remember traveling across the country, navigating with the help of just paper maps. Smartphone did not seem essential to me ten years ago, but now I can’t think of surviving a day without one! The more you think about the impact of technology on your life, the more you will realize how it has been guiding the evolution of mankind. Don’t you want to contribute to this driver of the future of the entire planet, and beyond?

How exciting it would be to introduce a gadget that will change the way people plan their day. I thought for months what may that gadget be? I did a lot of research, mostly while commuting and mostly on my phone, and my phone was always low on charge. I forgot to carry my battery backup, almost every single day. My charger hardly got plugged out of the socket above my desk. I almost never used the public charging stations because I was always on-the-run, and I am sure that I am not the only one! Result? Often found myself stuck in the middle of nowhere, without a functional mobile phone. Sounds familiar?

I remember that one day, back in 2016, I was visiting a prospective client at a very remote location. I had taken a cab to the meeting; however, on the way back, I could not find any. Just when I wanted to use the Uber app, I was shocked to see that my phone had run out of charge. A group of strange men stared at me as I walked past them, without even knowing if I was moving in the direction of the nearest bus stop. It was scorching, 91°F, and I felt helpless and scared. I was vehemently shaking my phone, as if the motion would induce some charge. Wait, what if it could? What if I had something with me which I could just shake to generate power? What if I could harvest energy from motion and use it to charge my phone? Suddenly, as if it was a sign from the Universe (that I was on the right track), I saw something yellow in the far end of the seemingly endless lane. I was never happier to see such a dilapidated yellow Taxi that stopped and asked me where I wanted to go. Sitting in the car, all I could think about was the device that would generate charge from motion. Thus, started my research on Personal Energy Generator (PEG) technology and brainstorming on how to integrate this technology with things that people will not forget to carry with themselves.

My Wharton journey started with a blast. Wharton being my career switch to Finance, I dived into ‘Finance’ right at the start! The hectic Investment Banking recruiting kicked in after the mid-sems. However, I never forgot one other thing that I wanted to work on during my Wharton journey, something that has the potential to change lives. I named this venture ‘PowerMove’ and it is now a part of the Venture Initiation Program – Philadelphia (VIP-C).

The idea behind PowerMove is to leverage PEG technology in generating power for the gadgets that we move around with. Initially I conceived it as a wristwatch or fitness tracker, enabled with PEG, generating power from hand movements. This device shall double as a portable cell phone power bank; a ‘Green’ product that grants one the ‘Power’ to be in control of one’s life, the ‘Power’ to make a statement, and the ‘Power’ to save the planet in every move. Unlike the competing products such as, the mobile cases which have inbuilt battery backup, PowerMove shall the generate power-on-the-go and clean energy. PowerMove will generate power anytime, anywhere; you just need to ‘move’. The main challenge is the bulkiness of PEG technology that will be used, and in fact, this is a challenge for all mobile battery backup devices.

With the VIP-C Award, I have access to shared workspace, elaborate database, group advising, monthly workshops, and more, and currently I am researching how I can reduce the size of the PEG and integrate it with a wristwatch/fitness tracker so that it is always on the wrist in times of need. VIP-C mentors have been really supportive and encouraging. It is obvious that this technology will become more compact with time; in fact, around the year 2017, the Vanderbilt University had prototyped a jacket with ultrathin energy harvesting device that generates energy even from slow human motions and can be used to charge phones. The future looks optimistic and next semester onward, I would love to know what our Penn Engineers think about it.

My focus now is to integrate PEG technology with backpacks, before the evolution of the PEG technology into miniature, yet efficient, forms that are suitable for watches. People like me, who are always carrying backpacks, can wield the benefits of this amazing renewable energy technology immediately. I am looking forward to work with anyone who has the passion for or the experience in the energy sector, and/or finds the idea interesting. If we want our future generations to live healthy and long lives, we have no other option but to resort to clean energy in all micro-level and macro-level aspects. This is the time to take control, this is the time to change our destiny. Let’s ‘move’ towards a sustainable future, and change the world!

 

 

 

 

On Respect for Elders

Wharton is an eclectic group of individuals. From investment analysts with two years of work experience on the trading floor to twenty-year military Veterans, we’re all at different stages and points in our careers. However, with the onset of the A.I./Big Data/exponentially fast-changing technological trends (call it whatever you want), I think many of us are prioritizing cutting-edge skill acquisition over tried and true experience-based knowledge.

I recently had a discussion with a professor about how different the classroom is today from years past. The fact that there is now competition between veteran PhD’s who have toiled for years in their subjects and computer screens displaying the latest Bloomberg article or python coding guide is more evidence of this issue. With such a complex modern economy, it almost feels like you’re behind if you can’t explain the latest time management software to your learning team. What this information overload is really doing is deprioritizing the traditional way of asking a professor for advice in search of quicker but not always better learning methods.

My argument is that listening to the humans who have accumulated years of knowledge and are tasked with educating us is a better use of time than spending hours on some website trying to discover how to code the front-page of that wine-tasting startup you had an idea for. My fear is that professor-student interactions will decrease and the classroom will become ever more transactional.

One solution to this issue is to begin by thanking our elders, showing respect toward those that have paved the way before us. Recently, I sent a thank-you to a speaker who came to talk to us. His response shocked me when he said that after years of coming to talk, he never once had a student write him a thank you email. Clapping at the conclusion of a course or taking a professor to lunch isn’t really enough to show appreciation for the time they’ve taken to stand up in front of the room and try to impart some wisdom on us. Don’t get me wrong, there are bad courses and occasionally professors who don’t try their hardest, but a level of gratitude for those who have imparted wisdom should be warranted. As our generation becomes the “break it down to build it up” generation of disruption, one thing that shouldn’t be replaced is our traditional values of gratitude toward those that are older.

 

 

My Journey to Belonging at Wharton

Note: I am writing this article to share my journey to belonging and reflect on the evolution of my Wharton experience. I hope that it will resonate with 1Ys, who might feel alone in their experience.

“Business school was the best time of my life!” Almost every MBA alumnus is notorious for uttering these words about their experience. To be honest, I will probably be one of them after I graduate. However, during this time last year, I had officially given up all hopes for having “the best time of my life” at Wharton.

When I started at Wharton last year, it had been over half a decade since I was a student. And boy was it obvious when Pre-term began. I remember walking into the welcome reception on the first day, seeing thousands of new faces, and making an immediate U-turn out. I figured it was just the first day jitters and I would bounce back quickly. The next week, I was so excited to be invited to my first Wharton party. But when I got there, I felt so out of place amidst the hundreds of strangers, beer pong tables, and the small talk. I spent less than ten minutes before quietly Irish exiting.

I just did not get it. Everyone seemed to be having an amazing time making new friends at these big events. I, on the other hand, could not move past the tiring trifecta of questions (if you must know, I’m from San Francisco, I worked at Lyft, and I plan to get into nutritional wellness/food). For the first couple weeks, I left every social event feeling overwhelmed by the number of conversations I had and underwhelmed by the depth of these conversations. To add a cherry on top, I do not particularly enjoy drinking or going out, which seemed blasphemous at that time.

“Let classes begin, I’m sure things will settle down,” I convinced myself. But things did not get better when classes started. My cohort mates would bond over White Party stories and hockey practice while I awkwardly tried to contribute something to the conversation. I would quietly sit by myself at MBA cafe after class, pretending to read for my next class while I watched my classmates greet and catch up with each other with so much joy and kinship. It had been less than a month since classes started, but they all seemed to have found their crew and felt immediately at home.

My anxiety reached its peak when everyone started making Thanksgiving vacation plans. Everyone around me was planning epic adventures around the world, while I was still struggling to make friends. One day, I mustered up the courage to ask a friendly cohort mate what he was planning on doing for Thanksgiving. “Oh, me and my best friends are going to South America. I can’t wait!” he said casually. My heart immediately sank. BEST FRIENDS?! How did he manage to make best friends within a few months?! He and I started on the same path, and yet our experiences had diverged so quickly. Was my disdain for parties and large social events a death sentence?

I came home that night and thought to myself, “I made a major mistake. The people in business school are too superficial for me. I cannot have fun in business school with all the parties and socialization. I add no value to Wharton and Wharton adds no value to me.” I called up my mentor and proclaimed that I had made a mistake and I seriously considered quitting. After patiently listening to me rant, my mentor asked me a simple question: “When was the last time you were in a completely new environment, Anisha?” It had been almost a decade when I last moved to a new city to start my undergraduate degree. “How did you feel in those first few months?” “Horrible!,” I exclaimed. I didn’t know anyone, I missed my family terribly, and I wanted to go back to the comfort of familiar surroundings. “And how did you feel when you graduated after 4 years?” It was one of the best experiences of my life where I made lifelong friends and memories, I recollected.

So what had changed in those years? It was patience, trial and error, and intentionality behind relationships. Somehow, I had forgotten my difficult path to belonging and friendships in the past. I only remembered the end result, which is often beautiful and meaningful, and was frustrated that I was not able to immediately replicate it at Wharton. Of course, the constant positive dialogue among Wharton students didn’t help. Although well-intentioned, I kept hearing how amazing and fun everything was at Wharton. Not many talked about the hard parts of adjusting to Wharton. It made me feel self-conscious and doubt my own ability to belong.

After this realization, I accepted that it is perfectly normal to not hit the ground running when you make a cross-country move and change almost everything in your life. I also realized that I needed to carve my own path to belonging at Wharton, even if it meant doing things in a nontraditional, Anisha way. So, I doubled down on forming meaningful relationships the way that I felt most comfortable: one-on-one’s. Every day, I made it a point to have at least one coffee chat or lunch or walk with a classmate. Whether it is someone I had just met once at an event or a learning teammate that I wanted to know outside of MGEC problem sets, it was all about moving past the small talk. I initiated every chat and followed up. I began to uncover an unexpected, refreshing depth of complexity among people that I had cast off as shallow a few weeks ago. Soon enough, these one-on-ones eventually turned into group hangouts, such as game nights or dinner at my place. As an amateur cook, I love to experiment with cooking and these friends served as excellent guinea pigs. To this date, I bring together 5-6 people at my apartment every weekend for a meal or casual hangout.

These hangouts gave me the confidence to put myself out there and meet more people. So when it came to Thanksgiving, I boldly invited myself to that same South American trek that my cohort mate mentioned. In fact, I invited myself to a smaller follow-on trek to Atacama with three strangers that I had not met. I was committed to being uncomfortable. I was ok with not having a wonderful time immediately. That Thanksgiving trip turned out to be one of the most fun experiences I’ve had at Wharton. I never expected to have such an authentic and adventure-filled Thanksgiving in the middle of the Chilean salt flats with strangers who quickly became dear friends.

Did I return from Thanksgiving with best friends and a crew? Not at all. Am I now the most “popular” person that greets everyone at MBA cafe? Not even close. But, I did return with a strong appreciation for what Wharton can offer. As I began to invest more into the community, I got twice as much back. It was a gradual process to feel comfortable at Wharton, meet other like-minded people who enjoy small group settings, and are committed to authentic conversations. In fact, I would say that I only began feeling at home in January because meaningful relationships take time to build. And it is acceptable to have a bumpy road to this end state!

Now, as I am swiftly wrapping up my last year, I can’t help but be proud of my Wharton experience. The beauty of Wharton, from its size and community, is that there is something for everyone; you just have to make it happen and find your own path. We all worked so incredibly hard to get here, so let’s take full advantage of this opportunity. It might be difficult and awkward to forge your own Wharton experience, but that is perfectly normal.

To this date, I don’t have one single crew of best friends I always hang out with, I have not been to 99% of the big parties, and I took over 4 months to really feel like I belonged. But if anyone asks me about Wharton now, I proudly say,“I am having the best time of my life and I earned it!”

 

A Vietnamese Family’s Escape: “Eat ‘til you’re full”

From the perspective of my mom, Huỳnh Lan Phương

My mom served every meal saying, “ăn cho no.” Eat ‘til you’re full. Our family always had eaten until we were full until 1975.

I was 16 when the Việt Cộng declared victory and an end to the Vietnam War. But for my family, and countless others, the end seemed far from sight. My father died a few years ago, so it was up to my widowed mother to steer me and her three other children through the war’s aftermath. This time was not kind to most. Under the thumb of the Việt Cộng, our family business was shut down. Food was scarce. “Ăn cho no” (eat ‘til you’re full) became foreign words to us and I could see the heartbreak in my mom’s eyes. Banks refused any withdrawals and any attempt would be taxed at 100%. With what little we had, we fled south to my family’s hometown, Bến Tre, in 1977.

Life under the Việt Cộng was getting harder. In 1979, I met Khánh at school and we started dating. Four months into our relationship, Khánh was adamant that we flee to a safer country. Hundreds of thousands of southern Vietnamese were detained and tortured in re-education camps. Many more were forcibly relocated to wastelands. One day, the Việt Cộng barged into our home, took our valuables, and left us shaking in fear. We knew we’d never feel safe in Vietnam. We arranged twice for local fishermen to smuggle us out of the country in the dead of night. We were cheated twice. We lost 4 gold bars, an equivalent to 3 years of savings. Escaping required more. We sold everything we had left and ate just enough to live

Undeterred, Khánh set off to build his own boat, picking up work as an understudy at a fishing company. Within 6months 

he crafted a boat large enough for 30. Not just for our large families, but an ex-navy sailor as our captain and 16 strangers who paid us to join. From the youngest at 6, to the oldest at 41, we 30 were bound together in our escape. To get caught was to die.

At 5 am on November 11, we all made it to the boat undetected. But more dangerous journeys lay ahead. We set sail silently into the bay. It did not take long for the Việt Cộng guardsmen to spot our escape. Alarms sounded as they dispatched their ships. Gunfire followed soon after. Between the rapid blasts of gunfire and the monsoon season’s tumultuous waves, it seemed death awaited us whichever direction we steered. I wanted to go forward. Death by the sea was preferable to death at the hands of the Việt Cộng. When the monsoon waves got bigger, they retreated.

By our second day at sea, we were rationing banana peels to fight the hunger pangs. We grew weak, but there were graver dangers out at sea. Thai pirates often captured refugee boats in the night, taking what they could – be it our belongings or even our bodies. My mom shaved my and my sisters’ heads in hopes that we’d be mistaken for men. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I might die. By hunger, sexual assault, or the gun.

By the third day, we caught a glimpse of a large commercial shipping boat. We shot our flares. No response. Another day passed by. We were out of emergency guns, food, and gasoline. We counted 51 commercial and cruise ships pass us by. No rescue in sight. We floated aimlessly throughout the fourth day. We laid atop the boat in silence – too weak to move, too hopeless to talk.

On the fifth morning, I was startled by a large flare. A Holland cruise ship moved closer. I was in disbelief. People from their balconies waved and shouted “We’re coming!” I couldn’t comprehend until they threw life vests at us. The Ampsteldiep crew pulled us up using emergency boats and rope ladders. They fed us and offered more food than I’d seen in years. I was overwhelmed by the Dutch’s kindness.

After a few hours, the ship dropped us off at a US-operated refugee camp in Singapore, where we stayed for 3 ½ months. In mid-February of 1980, the organization gave us our first plane tickets to the US. As we settled into our new home and made our first meal, we finally heard “ăn cho no” again.

1979, Photo taken by Ampsteldiep crew members before taking our family onto their ship

 

2019 Learning Agreement

Dear students,

Wharton’s reputation rests on its mission of learning and academic excellence, and we are constantly striving to improve the classroom experience. A group of students, faculty, and administrators have jointly shaped a new Learning Agreement, a set of ideal standards for both students and faculty to create and enjoy an engaging classroom environment.

WGA students wrote the initial draft, and we have been circulating this with faculty, students, and administrators since then to create a collaborative, well-rounded set of standards. The last time Wharton crafted a Learning Agreement was 15 years ago, and it was time to calibrate it to the current classroom environment, and to emphasize that we need to hold each other accountable to these standards to benefit from Wharton’s education.

Several of you might recall the term concert rules. I think the concert rules are still visible in the Learning Agreement, but the term will phase out eventually. This new Learning Agreement is an improvement, as it speaks more specifically to aspects such as preparation and interaction, an inclusive learning environment for all students, and the focus on impactful real-world knowledge.

Thanks to all of you for your commitment to the classroom, to the WGA for supporting this initiative from day one, and to the many stakeholders wanting to help each other in the learning process. Without all of you, we could not create such a world-class MBA program.

Wishing you a great Fall semester, Stephan Dieckmann

 

Learning Agreement 2019

 

Student Standards

 

Classroom Conduct

·       Arrive on time, ready to begin, and minimize disruptions throughout the session.

·       Display your Wharton name tent to allow for a personalized classroom experience.

·       Turn off and put away your phone. If you must keep a phone on by reason of a personal emergency, you must inform the instructor before class begins.

·       Do not use your laptop or tablet unless for educational purposes as permitted by the instructor (e.g., notetaking, reading, or data analysis).

·       Respect the physical environment by maintaining classroom cleanliness.

 

Preparation and Interaction

·       Be prepared to engage fully in each session through your focused attention and active involvement; this is crucial to achieve positive learning outcomes for you and other students.

·       Encourage an inclusive learning environment and show respect for the point of view of others.

 

Teamwork

·       Contribute your fair share; free-riding can be a substantial distractor to your own learning and the learning of others.

·       Hold teammates and yourself accountable to team goals and assignments.

·       Be supportive and encouraging with your teammates.

·       Appreciate the diversity of knowledge, skills, and abilities within the team.

·       Be honest and transparent in your evaluation of teammates.

 

Ethics

·       Promote the growth of ethically responsible business leaders and adhere to the highest standards of honesty and academic integrity.

 

Instructor Standards

 

Classroom Conduct

·       Arrive on time, ready to begin, and end class on time.

·       Create a classroom experience that motivates learning through intriguing content directed towards useful applications and compelling discussions of relevant business issues and decisions.

·       Engage students in activities that promote the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content, cognizant of the balance of student-centered activities and presentation-style instruction.

·       Lead the class to foster a respectful and inclusive learning environment.

 

Syllabus

·       State the learning objectives for the course.

·       Explain how students are graded, provide due dates and times for assessments and deliverables, and articulate guidelines for collaborative work.

·       Identify required and recommended course materials.

·       List opportunities for office hours and availability outside of the classroom.

·       Make an updated syllabus available prior to the beginning of the course.

 

Student Support

·       Provide students with feedback on assessments, class participation, and deliverables to facilitate their growth and learning, including the distribution of results.

·       Communicate how students can improve if learning objectives are not met.

·       Commit to deadlines for grading, feedback, and submitting final grades.

·       Make course materials available in a timely manner to foster course preparation.

·       Respond to student requests and inquiries in a timely and respectful manner, and be available through posted office hours as well as by appointment.

Rugby – a hooligan’s game, played by gentlemen

The Hog slowly raised his head and surveyed the field with my bloodshot eyes. All did not seem well. He could see several other hogs lying on the ground, unresponsive, and others looked heavily dazed. The few who were still standing struggled for words. He had heard rugby was a rough sport, but this was beyond his wildest expectations. Somehow in this brutal game there had been no winners. In fact, for the first time all season, the mighty Wharton Wharthogs had ended the day without scoring. For a seventeenth consecutive year, Pub Golf remained undefeated.

Wharton Rugby Football Club’s first day of the pool play at the MBA Rugby World Cup in Danville, VA Saturday, April 13th, 2019. Photos by David Duncan Photography

Having learned some valuable lessons that night, the Hogs embarked on a Spring Tour back to their natural habitat – the plains of South Africa – where shark diving, a safari, and some lackluster off-field performances overshadowed a surprisingly competitive game of rugby. Next year will likely see them spread the gospel of US rugby deep into Argentina, where their bi-annual match against a local prison team makes “The Longest Yard” look like flag flootball.

Reinvigorated by their nostalgic pilgrimage to the savannah, the Hogs extended their long US winning streak by collecting both North American MBA trophies in Philly and Ausin dominant fashion. For the second year running, one team stood between the Wharthogs and MBA World Cup glory at Duke. While LBS narrowly came out on top in a tough final, the fact that most of them had played rugby before appeared to give them a slight edge.

The next priority is maintaining their ironclad grip on Hogfest; Wharton’s own MBA rugby tournament held on September 28th in Philly. Even more challenging than retaining the title is convincing HBS to find 15 blokes who can tolerate each other’s company long enough to travel together to Philadelphia. Given they couldn’t field a full team at the World Cup last year, we thought we would boost their recruiting efforts by setting aside a keg of O’Douls for them at Bonner’s this year. First round is on us, boys.

If you want to help break the World Cup drought, or if you just need a reason to drink late on Monday and Tuesday nights without judgement, join the Wharton Men’s Rugby Club. No rugby experience is required (in fact if you want to fit in, less experience is better). Open training sessions will be held for several weeks for those wanting to try it out. Alternatively, if you want to join a team who actually won at the MBA World Cup, join the Wilderbeests – the Women’s Rugby Club. For details, contact cleckie@wharton.upenn.edu, or speak to anyone you see on campus wearing the iconic Hog’s hat.

Five Reasons Why You Can’t Afford to Miss Out on the Wharton Human Capital Club

Five Reasons Why You Can’t Afford to Miss Out on the Wharton Human Capital Club

Last Updated: July 28, 2019

The Wharton Human Capital Club (WHCC) is excited to kick off yet another year of discussions, workshops, and events focused on every organization’s most important asset: its people. So, if you’re a person who plans to work with people, or a person who is interested in learning more about the field, this club is for you! In fact, here are a few reasons why we think you can’t afford to miss out on joining WHCC this year.

  1. It’s free to join!

The Wharton Human Capital Club is one of the few clubs that won’t cost you a dime to join.

When this club was first created in 2017, its founding members maintained the need to keep the resources, events, and experiences it offered open and accessible to all Wharton students. As such, we invite you to become a member of our community! Membership gives you access to a large network of “people people,” (i.e. people who are passionate about and interested in becoming better people managers, leaders, and teammates) as well as a growing number of  resources.

  1. You might have more interest in human capital than you think! 

“Human capital” is a term used to refer to all business activities and initiatives related to the people in an organization. This includes topics such as: people analytics, talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion, performance management, learning and professional development, compensation and benefits, leadership, and organizational design.

In short, human capital is relevant to a diverse group of stakeholders. Whether you’re an entrepreneur building out a new team, a business school student seeking a better way to provide feedback to a colleague, or a club leader trying to think of the best way to recruit new board members, this human capital club has something for you.

  1. We have a great lineup of speakers, events with other clubs, and dinners planned

Last year, we hosted various events and dinners. We welcomed Chief Human Resources Officers for discussions with professors, facilitated panels with entrepreneurs seeking to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning in their people operations. We hosted dinners with consultants working on human capital cases and with alumni passionate about diversity and inclusion.

This year, we plan to increase the number and quality of those engagements in order to make the club even more of a community and resource than it’s been in the past. We would love to have you join in on the fun!

 

  1. We’re always thinking about new ways to help you grow your leadership and team management skills. 

This is a space that’s growing for us because we know everyone can benefit from further developing their leadership and team management skills. In partnership with other clubs, we hope to expand our club offerings through workshops, conferences, and other opportunities to grow your skills. Have ideas? We welcome them! In fact, if you’d like to get hands on experience, consider joining our 1Y board! More details coming soon.

  1. Interested in recruiting for human capital roles? We’ve got you covered. 

We have an energized careers team, ready to help make your professional human capital dreams come true. In fact, our VPs of Careers, Timka Lockheart and Kate Goldenberg, have been working all summer to make sure we have a full roster of employers and alumni to connect with and leverage throughout the year.

Additionally, we partner with Wharton’s MBA Career Management Office to make sure our members get up-to-date lists of human capital roles (internship and full time), as well as the interview prep and moral support they need to be successful through the recruitment process.

Do you think you still might have questions? Don’t worry! Our entire 2Y board has had experience working in human capital and we’re all willing to chat with anyone who may be curious about the work we’ve engaged in. Read more about the type of projects the 2Y board worked on during their summer internships below.

By now we hope it’s clear that you can’t afford to miss out on The Wharton Human Capital Club. However, if you still need convincing or if you just want to learn more about how to get involved, come find us at Club Pub on September 5th and/or join us for free on CampusGroups! 

Meet the 2Y board and learn about our summer internships! 

Feel free to reach out to any of us if you’re interested in learning more about our summer internships, our experience recruiting for human capital roles, or about the club in general!

Name & Role: Natalia Villarman, President

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Summer Internship: This summer I was a Human Capital Summer Associate at Deloitte Consulting. My project focused on creating a learning and development digital platform used to upskill professionals working in human resources as they strive to be more strategic and responsive in their roles.

Name: Kate Goldenberg, VP of Careers

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Summer Internship: This summer I was a Workplace Analytics MBA Intern at Microsoft. My project focused on quantifying collaboration practices, workload, networks, and manager behavior and correlating results with performance data to identify patterns and to develop a targeted set of value-oriented interventions to enhance manager performance.

Name: Timka Lockheart, VP of Careers

Hometown: Stone Mountain, GA

Summer Internship: This summer I was an HR MBA Manager Intern at American Express. My project focused on exploring benefits offerings related to student loan debt. I sought to answer the question: “How can American Express create a sustainable rollout of projects helping all generations of its employee base with issues related to student loans?”

Name: Olivia Moore, VP of Community

Hometown: Edmond, Oklahoma

Summer Internship: This summer I was a Summer Associate at McKinsey & Company on their People Analytics team. My project focused on creating a digital platform that will make large organizational transformations a more personalized experience for employees.

The Adam Smith Society: Free Markets, Free Minds, and Free Membership

Welcome (back) to Wharton. The Adam Smith Society, or SmithSoc for short, is a chapter-based network of MBA students across the globe who work to promote debate and discussion about the moral, social, and economic benefits of free markets. It is important to stress the words debate and discussion – we are not aligned with any one political party, we do not agree on all policy solutions, and we are not (entirely) funded by the Koch Brothers. Rather, our members are united by the idea that entrepreneurs, like you and me, will solve today’s social and economic problems with ingenious solutions – incubated in a free enterprise system. We invite all of Wharton to attend our lectures and debates, regardless of personal leanings.

Returning 2Ys may remember some of the lunch-and-learn events hosted by last year’s SmithSoc. These included lectures from experts on topics including net neutrality, the future of rideshare, payday loans, and the gender wage gap. This coming academic year, our leadership team intends to bring renowned speakers that will touch on topics including private prisons, highway safety policy, trends in corporate lobbying, universal basic income, corporate stock buybacks, and more. Furthermore, we are planning a one-of-a-kind social competition called BeerX, which is a simulation of a beer market complete with buy and sell orders, real-time pricing, and plenty of hoppy IPAs.

And the best part: club membership is free, just like our favorite type of markets. Please join via Wharton Groups and by visiting http://www.adamsmithsociety.com/membership. An extra $10 will buy you access to the many national SmithSoc events all across the US. From all of us at the SmithSoc board, welcome to Wharton and we sincerely look forward to engaging in thoughtful debate and discussion with you this year.

 

 

#OurWharton Podcast

Sadia Dhorat (WG’20) and I (Anush Vinod – WG’20) are co-hosting the #OurWharton podcast this year! We’re excited to continue Nicolette Omoile Gangitano’s (WG’19) important work in creating a space for Wharton students whose extraordinary life experiences and passionate visions for the world go unheard.

Her founding vision left an indelible mark on us, and we believe the podcast can leave an imprint on so many others at Wharton. It represents an extension of what our school aspires to tirelessly achieve: an environment of inclusion and openness, a playground to challenge one another with tough conversations on the affairs of the day. It’s an opportunity to highlight our greatest assets ~ our people ~ the students, their families, our professors, alumni, admin and staff that make up our collective Wharton family.

We have some incredible content planned for the year: interactive discussions ranging from career-oriented topics like “the power of entrepreneurship”, “alternative leadership paths” to politically-minded ones that review the state of affairs in Latin America. We’ve also proud of the episodes we’ve recorded so far, including one of our favorites: an interview with Pro Nurmohamed on power and politics in organizations (and how he feels about Kanye!)

Sadia and I hope the podcast can:

 

  1. Shed light on valuable resources for 1Ys (and 2Ys!) to leverage early on
  2. Offer the podcast as a valuable and convenient resource to help 1Ys settle
  3. Create a platform for 1Ys to share their own unique stories and experiences with the school as early as they feel comfortable.

 

So, here are our calls to action. Let us know…

– …if you’d like to be interviewed for the podcast, to share your unique history or perspective on one of our topics

– …if you’d like to help out with the podcast, in terms of marketing, managing the social media page, helping us record / edit the podcasts and curate content

– …if you have discussion topics / ideas or people (admin, students, profs) you think would be worthwhile interviewing

We’re really excited to deliver great content this year and hope we can use this platform to encourage challenging, and fun conversations!

 

Sadia Dhorat (WG’20): sdhorat@wharton.upenn.edu

Anush Vinod (WG’20): avinod@wharton.upenn.edu

Instagram: @ourwharton_podcast

SoundCloudhttps://soundcloud.com/user-45977264

Nurmo Episodehttps://soundcloud.com/user-45977264

 

Our Climate Change Opportunity

Wharton is a special place.  It really is.

 

I vividly remember the first few days of Pre-Term. It’s a special feeling to know you’re on the cusp of what promises to be a transformative experience. With each day, I became more and more excited about the opportunities that lay ahead. Though I have to be honest: at times, the choice paralysis and FOMO overwhelmed me. If you’re a 2Y reading this, you know exactly what I mean. To you incoming 1Ys, don’t stress too hard. This too shall pass. I assure you that everything will work itself out.

It did for me. I spent most of the school year experimenting with different paths. I was absolutely certain, however, about wanting to work on something where I could make a big impact on a challenging issue.  After many coffee chats with second years and phone calls with alums, I discovered that my sweet spot blended finance, entrepreneurship, technology, and policy.

It wasn’t until spring break that I found my home in the renewable energy and cleantech space.  I attribute my good fortune to taking several classes in the spring with some of Wharton’s best professors. These included Sarah Light and Arthur van Benthem, who teach Environmental Management and Energy Markets, respectively. They challenged me to think critically about how I could leverage my MBA education to directly address the climate crisis. So at semester’s end, I applied for a student grant from Penn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. In exchange for writing a blog post (well… two, actually), they funded my visit to the National Renewable Energy Lab’s investor forum in Colorado, There, I connected with the industry’s leading investors and entrepreneurs, and got to see breakthrough innovations first-hand.

Climate change is the most important challenge we as MBAs will face over the course of our professional lives. It increasingly strikes at the very heart of business strategy and affects nearly every industry in which we will work: finance, technology, real estate, infrastructure, transportation, healthcare, food and agriculture, consumer packaged goods, and of course, energy. In the U.S. alone, climate change projects to cause $360 billion of economic losses, property damage, and healthcare costs over each of the next 10 years. Yeah, it’s pretty daunting.

There is a silver lining though. A massive one. Climate change also represents one of the greatest economic opportunities of our generation. Bold action between now and 2030 could yield an economic gain of $26 trillion and creation of 65 million new low-carbon jobs, relative to business as usual. I see climate change as the 21st century version of the Apollo program, where the mission to put man on the moon galvanized America towards one of the greatest achievements in human history and inspired a nation to dream.

Wharton gave me the confidence to pursue a moonshot summer internship. It was a journey of persistence, but on May 14th, my patience was rewarded. I received and accepted my offer from Breakthrough Energy Ventures.  Breakthrough is a $1 billion venture capital fund launched by Bill Gates in December 2016. It is backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, including Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, Ray Dalio, Masayoshi Son, Jack Ma, and Muskesh Ambani. The fund’s mission is to invest in cutting-edge innovations that significantly reduce our carbon footprint across electricity, transportation, buildings, manufacturing, and agriculture. I got to work alongside leading investors and technologists who are dedicating their careers to solving the climate crisis. Breakthrough provided me with an incredible summer experience, and I learned so much over my 12 weeks.

As I reflect on my return to campus, I believe we as Wharton MBAs are uniquely positioned to step up. That starts with me doing my part. As an officer with Wharton’s Sustainable Business Coalition, we are planning a Captain Planet-themed “Planet Week,” set for the week of February 10th (and coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, launched 50 years ago in Philadelphia). I also serve on the boards of the Energy Club and Wharton Energy Conference. For the latter, I’m organizing a panel that will feature corporations that are taking bold action on climate change in ways that are strategic for their core businesses.

Wharton explicitly states on its alumni fundraising campaign site that it wants to lead in defining the Future of Finance, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and Analytics. Indeed, solving climate change will be capital-intensive, call for new ventures scaling revolutionary technologies, and require sound, data-driven decisions. Our school has taken encouraging early steps, such as the recent creation of the Business, Energy, Environment, and Sustainability “BEES” major.  But more is needed. And quickly. Climate change requires urgent action within the next 12 years to avoid catastrophic damage to the natural systems that underpin human civilization, let alone the modern economy.

Outside of the Wharton bubble, I’ve been encouraged by the momentum across Penn. The University has made Driving Energy Solutions a top priority for its $4.1 billion Power of Penn capital campaign. Alumni and major donors have responded, committing record gifts of $30 million to the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy and $50 million to the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology. As MBAs, we can and should do a better job collaborating with other schools at Penn. After all, isn’t business school about stretch experiences?

Wharton is a school that grows leaders who act decisively to meet tomorrow’s biggest challenges.  The biggest challenge of them all is climate change. Now is ripe for action.

Here are three things you can do to act on climate change:

  1. SIGN OUR PETITION that asks Wharton to step its game on climate change. We’ve already gotten over 200 Wharton MBAs to sign. Your signature will go a long way towards helping us demonstrate widespread student interest. Sign the petition.
  2. JOIN OUR COMMUNITY of students across Penn’s graduate schools where we are building a movement to apply our education towards building climate change solutions. Join our group.
  3. READ UP on this primer for MBA students, “Climate Change and Business: What Every MBA Student Needs to Know.” It does a terrific job breaking down the economic risks and opportunities of climate change. Read the paper.

And if you have more specific ideas or just want to learn more, feel free to drop me a line at sidrad@wharton.upenn.edu.  I’m more than happy to find time to chat.